So You Need to Sleep in an Airport… Here’s How!

Sleeping at the Airport

Sleeping in an airport is rarely a travelers plan A. Generally sleeping in an airport occurs due to delayed or cancelled flights. However, there are some that do plan to sleep in airports that they are passing through. These people are generally backpackers or travelers on a low budget. Whatever the case may be, it is possible to safely, securely, and efficiently sleep in an airport and below are six tips to help you do so, and do it right!

Arrive Early and Access the Lay of the Land

Before moving your plans to sleep in an airport into motion, make sure the airport you plan on staying in allows you to sleep there. Most major airports do allow you to stay the night, but there are a handful that do not. Some also close certain terminals early, as they are not all open 24/7. Some airports will even have security confront you to ask you why you are there and not at a hotel in addition to proof of your flight the next day.

Once you have prepared for a potential confrontation and made sure your airport will allow you to stay, it is important to get there early. Check out the lay of the land and try to find the best spot for you to rest for the night. Try to avoid heavily trafficked areas such as spots near check in desks, restrooms, or restaurants and shops. Some flight attendants and airport employees may even be able to point you in the right direction of the best spots to sleep if you ask. Some airports may even have designated zones for sleeping travelers whether that be a small pod you can pay for to rest for the night or an open lounge to multiple travelers.

Stay in a Populated Area

Slightly contradictory of the advice above to avoid highly trafficked areas, it is the safer option to not wander too far astray and seat yourself in a completely isolated area of the airport. Find other sleeping travelers to camp out near as you will be safer with more people around and less likely to be disturbed.

If you cannot find a group of fellow airport crashers, stay within a secure terminal zone if possible. Stay near areas that a lot of employees walk through or an area where a security guard will frequent. Although it is desirable to find a space where you will be totally alone and have complete privacy, it is better to be safe than sorry, and pick a spot that will have a few others around, whether airport professionals or passengers.

Don’t Let Your Belongings Out of Your Sight

Aside from it being a strict policy in most airports to never leave your bags and items unattended, this is especially important if you are planning to sleep in the airport. If you are traveling with a partner, consider sleeping in shifts to keep an eye on your belongings. You can even arrange your sleeping positions with your travel partner to form a barrier around your bags.

If you are traveling alone this becomes a little more difficult. Make sure that you are always in physical contact with your belongings while sleeping. If you are touching your bag and someone tries to snag it from you while you a resting, you are more likely to wake up due to the movement and disturbance. You can even turn your luggage and bags into bedding by using your suitcase as a pillow or backrest. There are some people who go so far as to utilize bike locks and hook up their bags to their leg or arm while they snooze the night away.

Bring the Right Supplies

This tip mainly benefits those who know and can prepare for sleeping in an airport, but doesn’t hurt to bring these items along with you no matter what your travel plans may be.

Dressing in temperature flexible clothes is an important strategic move when traveling and, in turn, sleeping in an airport. Nobody wants to under dress and shiver the night away, unable to sleep. On the other end of the spectrum, nobody wants to sweat through their thick clothes because they did not believe they would be in a warm environment. Wear light layers and make sure extra hats and jackets are packed in accessible spots in your luggage. That way you can easily adapt to whatever temperature you find yourself in.

Many like to travel as light as possible, but bringing a long a blanket, pillow or sleeping bag is a great way to also make sure you are comfortable in your makeshift airport bedroom.

Purchase Your Food and Drinks Early

While many airport terminals are open 24/7, the restaurants and shops generally close after a normal business day. That being said, make sure you stock up on any sustenance you might need during your night at the airport. Grab yourself both dinner and breakfast before shops close to make sure you have enough to eat during your overnight stay. You can even bring your own non perishable items to the airport before you arrive to ensure you at least have something to eat if need be.

Some people have even reported that particularly kind airport vendors might even give you their unsold food items to any travelers who are stuck at the airport for the night. Hey… it never hurts to at least try to score some free grub!

Enjoy the Adventure

Traveling is, at its core, an exciting experience. While stressful and chaotic in many ways, it is ultimately an adventure. You are making memories and having experiences that will help shape your future self. Our thoughts have significantly more power than we know and a positive and excited outlook on something such as sleeping in an airport makes all the difference.

Whether you are a backpacker who has chosen to sleep in an airport, or you are a run of the mill traveller who had a string of bad luck regarding flights, these tips can help ensure your safety and comfort while having a slumber party with whatever airport you find yourself in.